U.S. wine consumption drops for first time in 25 years

U.S. wine consumption drops for first time in 25 years
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The number of Americans drinking wine dropped for the first time since 1994, according to industry tracker IWSR.

IWSR, a leading source of data and analysis on the global beverage alcohol market, issued a report Monday that showed that the volume of wine consumption in the United States decreased 0.9 percent in 2019. It now represents 11 percent of the total beverage alcohol market in America.

This decrease, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is primarily attributed to a generational shift as millennials increasingly turn to alternatives like hard seltzers, cocktails and non-alcoholic beer.

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“Millennials are just not embracing wine with open arms compared to previous generations,” Brandy Rand, IWSR’s chief operating officer for the Americas, told the Journal. “With the rise in low and no-alcohol products and general consumer trends toward health and wellness, wine is in a tough place.”

The Journal also noted there has also been a decline in overall alcohol consumption in recent years.

According to IWSR data compiled for the Journal, U.S. alcohol volumes dipped 0.8 percent in 2018, compared to a 0.7 percent decline in 2019. Though wine and spirits consumption slowed, beer was the worst hit, with volumes down 1.5 percent in 2018, compared to a 1.1 percent decline in 2017.

The report comes as a number of consumers and public health groups push to put cancer warning labels on alcoholic beverages, disputing a long-held notion that drinking certain amounts of alcohol like red wine could potentially offer health benefits.

Last June, CBS News reported that a dozen advocacy groups, including the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in an effort to get the agency to adopt the new label.

There’s also the growing impact of Trump’s various trade battles.

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Trump last month threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion in French goods in retaliation for a digital services tax that targets American tech giants such as Google and Amazon.

The retaliatory measures could affect an array of French products, including wine and cheese. 

The U.S. and France are major trading partners, especially when it comes to wine. In 2018, the U.S. imported more than $700 million in wines from France alone, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).